Religious colleges and universities, often derided by academic elites, got a surprising shout-out recently from an Ivy League insider.
“Elite schools like to boast that they teach their students how to think, but all they mean is that they train them in the analytic and rhetorical skills that are necessary for success in business and the professions,” William Deresiewicz wrote in the July 21, 2014 issue of The New Republic. “Everything is technocratic—the development of expertise—and everything is ultimately justified in technocratic terms.”
“Religious colleges—even obscure, regional schools that no one has ever heard of on the coasts—often do a much better job in that respect. What an indictment of the Ivy League and its peers: that colleges four levels down on the academic totem pole, enrolling students whose SAT scores are hundreds of points lower than theirs, deliver a better education, in the highest sense of the word.” Deresiewicz taught English at Yale for an entire decade, from 1998 to 2008.
According to the Christian Universities Online’s newest college rankings, there are actually 50 top Christian universities and colleges in the U.S. The top five on the list are the following:
- College of the Ozarks
The author, Michael Templeton, wrote: “Charging no tuition, that’s right, ZERO, will catch just about any shopping student or parent’s attention. College of the Ozarks (CO) is able to offer this unique opportunity because of its student work program and generous donations. CO is not called “Hard Work U” for nothing! The student work program requires full-time students to work 15 hours at their assigned campus work station.”
- Gordon College
It is a small liberal arts college in Wenham, Massachusetts and strives to “keep the torch…burning which works to integrate faith and learning and to train students to think holistically about the problems they will face in their professions.”
- Goshen College
Established in 1894, this small liberal arts school in Goshen, Indiana integrates faith and learning. It is known for their Study-Service Term (SST), where “students work and study in another country for three months. This program has students learning the host country’s language, history and culture while participating in service work in a very wide range of occupations
- Pepperdine University
Founded in 1937, the school’s 830 acre campus in Malibu, California overlooks the Pacific Ocean and has a commitment to the idea that“all would be done to the glory of God.
- Baylor University
As Templeton wrote, “One of the first educational institutions west of the Mississippi River and the oldest continuously operating university in Texas, Baylor University (BU) has a tremendous history and reputation in academics, campus life and athletics. As rich and treasured as their history is, BU does not rely upon the past to earn it the no.5 position in our ranking. BU was ranked 75th out of 262 national universities in the 2014 “Best Colleges” ranking of the U.S. News & World Report.”
The criteria and the report itself were described by the author as a presentation attempting to “present a ranking of Christian colleges and universities taking into consideration a variety of quantitative values. We first began with regionally accredited schools that were also either accredited by TRACS or a member/affiliate of CCCU.” Templeton went on to say:
“Focusing on these accredited schools, the ranking was compiled considering which offered the highest degree of personal attention (student-to-faculty ratio), selectivity (acceptance rate), financial assistance (% receiving financial aid), and student satisfaction (retention and graduation rates). These factors were all given equal weight.
At the end of the day, we agree even using these quantitative and objective factors, there is always going to be a level of subjectivity when building a list entitled “the best.” We recognize there are many ways to rank schools, and this list represents only one way. With all ofthat disclaimer, we still believe this list serves as a good and useful starting point for students searching for a high quality Christian education.”